Volkswagen’s works council has reached an agreement with management that employees who use a BlackBerry and who are paid according to collective wage tariff agreements will be imposed new email restrictions.
From now on, VW’s email server will no longer route messages 30 minutes after the end of an employee’s shift and will only begin sending emails again half an hour before the beginning of the next working day. More than 1,000 VW employees who have a company BlackBerry are going to be affected by the decision. So far it is not clear if other German companies are considering similar restrictions.
“The new possibilities of communication also contain inherent dangers,” Heinz-Joachim Thust of VW’s works council was quoted by the Wolfsburger Allgemeine Zeitung. According to a VW works council spokesman cited by Financial Times, the rule doesn’t apply to senior management or other workers who are not included in trade union-negociated pay brackets.
The restriction came as an answer to the tendency for BlackBerry users to be contactable by employers at all hours and seeks to raise awareness in Germany of the risks of employee „burn-out”. VW works council said the decision was welcomed by workers and that they will still be able to make phone calls from their BlackBerrys at all times.